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Journal pbox's Journal: Music Business Brain Fart Alert 3

During the discussion of Cringely Proposes a Music Sharing Alternative I came across Brad's idea

Here is my take on it:

Consider this, you buy the song when you hit play for $1.05. When the song stops, the company buys back the song for $1. Company just made $0.05. You just got billed for $0.05. You no longer own the songs, company can sell it to the next member.

Let's assume some numbers:

  • 100K members.
  • 2M songs.
  • Max songs played at the same time: ~100K (high usage).
  • Avg songs played at the same time: ~10K (daily avg).
  • Favorite song copies needed to be owned: ~1K
  • Avg. number of copies per song needed to be owned: 5 (maybe lower).

Some deductions:

  • 2M * 5 songs = 10M ~ 1M CDs ~ $20M inital layout.
  • 10K songs played constaly for $0.05 per song. A song is 5 min long. That is 10K * $0.05 = $500 every 5 mins = $6K per hour = $144K per day.
    Ergo profitable in 139 days.
  • You do not own any songs, but you can play any at any time for 5c per song.
  • If you play music 15 hours a day 30 days a month, then with 5c per 5min song you would end up paying $100/mo. This however means CONSTANT MUSIC TO YOUR EARS FOR ALL YOUR WAKING HOURS!

If lowering sale price to $1.01 per song:

  • Comany makes to 1c per song, and still it is profitable in a year and a half!
  • UNLIMITED music cost you $20(!!) per month.


  • As per Mr.Sharpy (472377) suggestion 20% of income can be returned to artists. My idea would be 10% to the song's artist (to reward popular artist for their hard work) and 10% toward a music artis fund (to support innovation and up-coming artists)

Bad stuff:

  • If you burn it to cd, you brake the law.
  • Streaming is the only way you can access
  • Only works with instant online connection.
  • Fad songs lose money, as you need to own more copies for inital interest, after which there will be no more interest.
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Music Business Brain Fart Alert

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  • I'm just pulling ideas out of my ass here, but it seems like a large portion of the world's music listeners (or at least here in the US) are Fad Song listeners. Probably this is because of the way the music industry works now. Unfortunately, if something like this were to catch on in a widespread manner, the industry could put a real hurting on the company that implements this idea by going (even more) overboard in promoting Fad Songs. The hurt comes from the company having to purchase many additional co
  • All of these ideas seem to be oriented towards throwing stones at a big-bad entity rather than addressing an actual issue. What are you trying to achieve, the downfall of the RIAA or a world in which there's a substantial, useful, body of free (as in speech) music?

    The RIAA is a representative body. It represents music publishers and others involved in the recording industry. By itself, it neither produces music nor profits from it. (Sure, people are employed by the RIAA, but the RIAA itself doesn't make a

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